Medical History Tour

As part of the Edinburgh Science Festival’s programme, join The Real Mary King’s Close for a special tour that explores Edinburgh’s rich medical history.

Tour Guide dressed in plague doctor outfit for the medical tour at The Real Mary Kings Close

Royal Mile

30th March - 13th April
Adult: £27.00; Child (5 – 15 years): £22.00 per person

Venue Key Features


Venue Accessibility

Accessible toilets

This unique 1 hour guided tour takes you on a compelling journey down the only preserved 17th century street in Edinburgh, Mary King’s Close. You will walk in the footsteps of the city’s past residents, exploring the remarkable evolution of medical practices.

Delve deeper you into the darkest days of Edinburgh’s history, the Plague outbreak of 1645, and discover how the city confronted this devastating epidemic.

One of the tour’s highlights is the tale of Dr Arnott, a physician who called Mary King’s Close home. Prepare to be both fascinated and somewhat astounded as you hear about his unconventional method of diagnosing patients – tasting their urine! The tour also sheds light on the Edinburgh Seven, a group of pioneering women who faced immense challenges to pursue a medical education in the 19th century.

As you walk through time, you’ll discover how whisky and gin weren’t just indulgent spirits but also essential components of early medical treatments. The medicinal uses of these drinks offer a fascinating glimpse into the innovative approaches that were employed in the past.

The Medical History Tour promises not only to educate but also to inspire, leaving you with a sense of wonder and curiosity about the future of medicine.

Tours take place on 30 March, 06 April and 13 April 2024, starting at 4pm, 5.30pm and 7pm. Further information and booking details can be found on Medical History Tour.